Quick recap: A spy has been given the task of assassinating an Anti-Fascist, who happens to have been a mentor of his.
Fun (?) fact: I got nothing. For a movie so aesthetically pleasing and for something so complex, I was expecting a bevy of information but all IMDb gave me was the Italian Censorship Visa # (56307 for all my censorship visa nerds. I know y’all LIVE for that kind of stuff)
My thoughts: First of all, hi everyone! I’m back from my month long hiatus where I participated (and won) NaNaWriMo. A good time was had by all.
I wanted to ease back into this blog with a comedy or something that I could make fun of easily but this was next on the list, so here we are: The Conformist. The title itself is a whole philosophical discussion about man’s true need to conform to society and especially political beliefs. Or something like that. Marcello Clerici, the main character ,is a Fascist because that’s just what many powerful people in Italy were, but he ultimately failed to conform because he couldn’t carry out his duties as a member of the secret police. Or something like that.
As beautiful as the film was, the non-linear storyline was confusing, especially in the beginning ,but I got used to it about halfway through. Clerici shares a flashback in the beginning of the film where he talks about being bullied by neighborhood boys because his family was wealthy. A chauffer befriends him and then tries to sexually assault him. Clerici shoots him and is able to escape. At the end of the film, as Mussolini has fallen, Marcello walks around with another Fascist pal and comes across Lino, the guy he thought he had killed. He suddenly freaks out and starts labeling everyone around him as a Fascist and implicates them in the murder of the professor and his wife. Director Bernard Bertolucci implies that the only reason Clerici is a Fascist is because of childhood sexual trauma and repressed homosexual urges, which is a pretty damning statement but not really how that kind of thing works.
By far, the best part of the scene is the murder of the professor and his wife, who Clerici has fallen in love with. Prior to the assassination, he warned Anna to stay in France but she didn’t listen. When her husband is stabbed to death (by a gang of spies and it takes FOREVER) she runs out of the car for help. She sees Clerici in the car and starts screaming because that’s pretty messed up, but he just sits there and lets her get murdered. It’s such a dark part of the movie that it is hard to believe that this movie was released in 1970.
Final review: 4/5. This is a complex movie that was way ahead of its time and certainly stands with more modern movies.
Up next: Farewell, My Concubine